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SoE unveils future projects

SOE president talks action and strategy MMOs, PSP plans and pizza.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Following the success of the EverQuest series of massively multiplayer online games, Sony Online Entertainment is now working on an action MMO and will show the game off at E3, according to SOE president John Smedley.

Speaking to CNN Money, Smedley confirmed that the title will feature modern-day weaponry and said he's hopeful that it'll do better than PlanetSide, SOE's 2003 MMOFPS.

"We know what we're doing now and we're going to take it to the next level," he said.

He also hinted that an online strategy game is on the way too, despite the failure of previous effort Sovereign.

"We're always looking for the right idea and we didn't have it [with Sovereign]," he said.

"We will be in the strategy market. It's just a matter of timing. We'll get it eventually. ... Our goal is to be the dominant player in every major genre."

According to the CNN report, SOE is also working on a sequel to PSP hack 'n' slasher Untold Legends that will feature online play using the handheld's internet capabilities. Untold Legends was the best-selling PSP launch title in North America, according to retailers GameStop and Electronics Boutique.

Smedley also said that SOE is negotiating with wireless providers to let PSP owners make use of the internet Hot Spots you find in airports, posh cafés and the like. What's more, you'll be able to log on for free, and without having to bother with a username or password.

The catch is that the wireless provider gets advertising space in return - possibly on a loading screen, or perhaps within the game itself. The deal is still being knocked into shape but Smedley says it's "about 70 per cent of the way there."

This isn't the first time SOE has considered advertising in games - they're currently trialling a new EverQuest II feature which allows players to order a real life pizza from within the game.

Smedley says Pizza Hut is very happy with the results of the trial and wants to continue, and now other pizzamongers are trying to get a slice of the action. Other deals along the same lines are currently under consideration, but Smedley's all about making sure players are happy first and foremost.

"The important thing to me is that the users get a deep discount," he said (deep pan, surely? Sorry). "We don't want to spam the users. I want this to be something they see as a benefit."

SOE has recently come under fire from some fellow MMORPG developers and about a million billion gamers for plans to launch StationExchange, its new eBay-style auction site that allows EverQuest II players to buy and sell in-game items for proper money. You can read all about it here.

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